“While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.” This phrase from today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles indicates again how the early Church was strengthened by the Holy Spirit. The Lord promised His Apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit to them after He ascended to His Father in Heaven. (Liturgically, we celebrate these events in the next several weeks. So today’s readings are preparing us for those events. The Ascension of the Lord will be celebrated next Sunday. Pentecost – when we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles – will be celebrated the week after that.) At every point in the life of the Church the Holy Spirit is at work. First, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles were strengthened to teach clearly in the face of obstacles and persecution. Second, it is in cooperation with the Holy Spirit that the authors of the books of the New Testament recorded the Word of God. While remaining free agents, they truly wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Third, it was under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that the Church’s pastors (i.e., the Bishops) determined which writings were inspired by the Holy Spirit and are part of the Bible. And fourth, it is the same Holy Spirit which continually guides the Church today. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that the Pope (the successor of Saint Peter) and all the bishops in union with him infallibly teach on matters of the faith and on morals. The Church is not now, and never has been, a democracy. We do not determine doctrine by the latest poll, or by any report from some research group, nor by proclamations by civil authorities. The Church, and the Faith which the Church teaches, is a gift from our Lord, Jesus Christ. And both the Church and the Faith are protected by the Holy Spirit.
It seems most proper that during the month of May when we honor Mary, the Mother of the Lord, that we also honor all mothers. Happy Mother’s Day!
May God bless you!